king's evil (n.)
"scrofula," late 14c.; it translates Medieval Latin regius morbus. The name came about because the kings of England and France claimed and were reputed to be able to cure it by their touch. In England, the custom dates from Edward the Confessor and was continued through the Stuarts (Charles II touched 90,798 sufferers) but was ended by the Hanoverians (1714).
updated on March 15, 2016